Derbyshire named as Covid hotspot as 173 Indian variant cases reported in East Midlands
Public health officials have urged caution after more than 150 cases of mutations of the Indian Covid variant were detected across the East Midlands.
The dominant variant, known as VOC-21APR-02, first identified in sequence in India, has now infected 173 people in the East Midlands.
Data from Public Health England (PHE) showed a rise in cases of the Indian variant of concern from 520 to 1,313 last week week in the UK.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he is ‘anxious’ about the variant of concern as indoor hospitality reopens today across the country.
It follows a large outbreak of Covid-19 at Wilsthorpe Academy in Long Eaton which resulted in more than 170 staff and pupils testing positive – although none of these cases have so far been found to be variants of concern.
The outbreak has resulted in Erewash recording the second highest Covid rate in the country.
Derbyshire’s Director of Public Health Dean Wallace said: “We understand that people will be concerned that two ‘variants of concern’ have been confirmed in Long Eaton but I’d like to reassure everyone that we’re working closely with Public Health England to minimise the spread.
“There is currently no evidence that these variants cause more severe illness, are more deadly or make the current vaccines any less effective, but they do spread more easily – which is why we need everyone to be extra vigilant.
“I cannot stress enough the importance of getting a test if you have symptoms, including a wider range of symptoms which people have been experiencing locally, as well as regular twice-weekly testing if you have no symptoms.”